Thanks so much for the great comments and discussion about yesterday's post about modern wheat described as the perfect, chronic poison. Some great info was shared over on "the Facebook" and also some good questions came up. So lets do a follow up.
The main thing I learned was that even more folks than I thought had issues with wheat and were struggling with what to do about it. We really are all in this together! One of the great things I saw was that some folks recognized the physical problems (allergies, belly problems, etc) so if you are looking sideways at the piece of bread, you are not making it up or imagining your symptoms. For my $0.02, based on what I've observed, a lot of the medical professionals aren't able to recognize or diagnose some of these problems so in that light - doing your own research and figuring out what works for you is really important.
To that end, I wanted so share the links here and answer a couple questions - and give some great strategies that other folks shared. Obviously...usual disclaimer that I am not now or ever diagnosing you or giving you specific dietary advice! I am not a doctor, I don't ever want to be a doctor, if you are sick don't tell me about it because I'll just spray you down with Lysol and run away. If you have physical problems go and find a doctor. But if you don't believe them or they aren't helping you then find another doctor who looks at you when you talk and is actually helpful. If you are trapped under a heavy object please call 911 or whatever the emergency services phone number is for your area. OK ready?
A couple more links from my pal L that better explain the physical reactions of different wheat products as reported by that Wheat Belly guy, Dr. William Davis. From his blog you can read here .......and also here. He talks about how his blood sugar spiked after eating bread made from different wheats. You'll also notice that when his blood sugar went up he got it back down to normal by taking a bike ride. Interesting....
Next one of the questions was... so what are you supposed to DO about it? Well. There seems to be a lot of crying involved. So if you or a beloved is diagnosed, or just notices, that regular old wheat isnt doing you any good - go ahead and cry. Really. Its a hard thing. I think its less hard tho, if its your own decision and the decision isn't being made for you because of some really bad physical problems. Across the board tho, folks who get off wheat feel a lot better and can better understand how food affects their body. Being free of uncomfortable physical symptoms, weight loss, etc really keep the momentum going. Until there's some cookies laying around and then there is more crying. Until you eat some of those cookies then you just feel bad. This is what happens when I eat fast food so believe me, I get it.
I've also noticed that folks who have kids who have been diagnosed with wheat sensitivities are more likely to take up the banner and charge that hill than if they had to just do it for themselves.
But what are you supposed to do? That Dr. Davis guy says to avoid wheat products all together and eat single ingredient, real food.
Or, some folks say you can also try alternative grains. From the comments yesterday, my pal J says that
"...We've gone to strictly locally grown organic spelt. We have to drive an hour to get it, but it's worth it. We mix it with whole wheat. We have to buy the wheat berries at the health food store. It's a little expensive and time consuming to make. When we don't have time to make it, we go without..."
Isn't she superduper smart? And I love that she says they just do without if they don't have time for all that monkeying around. Is it entirely giving up wheat products? Nope. But I think she is very practical because this is what works for her. And since she hasn't starved to death, I'm betting she just found something else to eat during the "doing without" time and is doing just fine.
My pal V shared a terrific link for Tropical Traditions - a wonderful company with many fabulous offerings. They have information on an ancient grain called Einkorn which is pretty wheat-like and its what they used to grow back in the old, old, old, OLD days. You can buy a bag ground and everything for not an unreasonable price (scroll down on that page to purchase). And check out that they sometimes have free shipping! You can find out more about their specials by "liking" them on the Facebook.
Or you can grown your own grains. I know I know.. some folks cant even imagine baking a loaf of bread let alone GROWING grains. But really - its easy peasy. Run right out and get Gene Logsdon book on Small Scale Grain Raising and find give it a try. My pal D shared a terrific link here for finding seeds for ancient grains.
If this all sounds like a lot of gobbledygook and you know you've never had problems with wheat... or at least you are pretty sure... or maybe not.... How are you supposed to tell if your body is being affected by this crazy wheat anyway?
Well, you can stand there gripping your sack of Wonder Bread and dare anyone to pry it out of your cold, dead hands... or you could try giving up wheat to see what happens. How are you supposed to do that? Just give up the stuff of life? I asked my pal Freemotion for some guidance. She's a Nutritional Therapist who took the plunge - with her husband - to do an elimination diet a while ago. Check out those dramatic results! When I asked her how long you should try this wheat-less thing she said,
"Go wheat free (be sure to read labels!) for 2-4 weeks. Better yet, go completely grain AND sugar free for this time. Why? Because you may have some challenges with how your body regulates blood sugar or physically deals with stress that you may not yet be aware of. This can confuse your wheat symptoms and actually make you think you felt no difference in only two weeks. That was true for me and for some of my clients. Its tough but you'll be amazed at the difference!"
Is your head spinning? Are you reeling? Are you throwing your hands in the air? Nah.. come on, friend. What if the reason you can't sleep at night, have allergies, or can't lose weight isn't because you aren't trying hard enough - but what if your food is working against you? My belief is that everyone's body is different so you won't know until you try.
Sure two weeks sounds like a long time, and there could be crying involved. But at least you'd know, right? Freemotion has a class coming up about nutrition where you can learn more or you can contact her directly for a personal consultation on her blog. Or find her on the Facebook.
How do I avoid wheat products? Well, after a weekend of binging on bad food I hoisted my near-comatose-due-to-over-processed-food carcass up on the paleo-ish wagon. For breakfast I had an omelet with goat cheese and salsa (no toast!), later I had a bunch of nuts, then I had a spectacular goat cheese and beet salad (with greens tomatoes and stuff), then I had a huge slab of ham and zucchini fried in lard.
Was it tough? Didn't I want some toast? Or cookies? Sure....By about 2pm I likely would have sold Nicholas for medical experiments if they woulda gave me enough money to go and buy another box of fake-iced-pumpkin cookies from Giant Eagle. By 4pm I was stalking around like a caged tiger. Then I got over it. You'd think I would weigh 500 pounds but my shorts are looser today. What do I feel like today? Lighter, breezier, and I don't have any sugar or carb cravings.
If you want to go whole hog with wheat elimination then be sure to read labels because, just like corn products, wheat products are in lots of processed foods. I noticed that Dr. Davis does not advocate special "gluten free" prepared foods - probably because they are just highly processed with other stuff.
So that's what I know. Thanks again or everyone for the great discussion and comments. I know that this can all be pretty confusing and really you have to do what is best for your body. But if you are someone you know is struggling with wheat-related problems you might just want to do some research.
Happy Wednesday everyone! Now put down that bagel and go and have an omelet!